Christmas time is special at our household, as it is in most Christian homes. (We call ours the Cuban-Polish household because daddy is Cuban and mommy is Polish. Original, huh?) There are a lot of differences between the ways the two cultures celebrate Christmas but the thing that’s common is that Christmas Eve is the Big Day, not Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is when we have the big meal and exchange presents. Christmas Day is for relaxing in your PJs and snacking on leftovers.
In Poland, they don’t decorate the tree before Christmas Eve but then keep it around until some time later. In mommy’s house, the tree stayed up until Three Kings’ Day (Epiphany) or January 6th. In grandma’s house, they kept it until February! So now you understand why we don’t really get into a Christmas mood before Christmas Eve but stay in it until early January.
Cubans eat roast pig for Christmas Eve (they eat roast pig for all occasions.) in Poland, Christmas Eve in a fast day and so the meal is built around fish and vegetable dishes. Poles also have the custom of sharing communion wafer with each other and wishing each other good things for the coming year. Under the tablecloth, they place a little bit of hay to remind them that Christ’s first bed was a humble manger. (Mommy gets all that stuff at a Polish church nearby, it’s all blessed and everything). And they set an extra place at the table for any unexpected guests because they believe that no one should spend Christmas Eve alone and so all wonderers are invited into the house. Needless to say, they is always enough food for a whole crowd of extra guests!
The Case of the Missing Scales
A habit which I think must be strictly pagan and was introduced to mommy’s family by her grandfather’s second wife (whom mommy kindly called her aunt) is this: You wrap a scale from the fish you ate on Christmas Eve next to a coin, leave it under the tree for the night and then put it in your wallet to make sure you have plenty of money in the coming year. Mommy makes little packages of scales and pennies wrapped with tissue paper and scotch tape. I’m sorry to report that the Cuban-Polish household is in for lean times according to this tradition because the scales disappeared from under the tree. We have not found the scales or the culprit. Maybe they are somewhere around the house and the house will be rich, which would be OK by us. We are hoping they are not in anyone’s stomach, just waiting to obstruct and cause vet fees, thereby making us poorer.
Cats and presents
Well, whatever will be, will be. In the meanwhile, here are some photos of us with the presents. These are the humans’ presents; ours were in a cabinet so we wouldn’t help ourselves to the catnip ahead of time.
You can see that that Samson is just looking for trouble. What do you think the chances are he knows exactly where those fish scales are? Pretty darn good, I would say. *fluffs tail.*
Merry Christmas Time and a Happy New Year to all! Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.